This is a hands-on inquiry activity using zip-lock plastic bags that allows students to observe the process of fermentation and the challenge of producing ethanol from cellulosic sources. Students are asked to predict outcomes and check their observations with their predictions. Teachers can easily adapt to materials and specific classroom issues.
This video from the U.S. National Academies summarizes the energy challenges the United States faces, including the technological challenges, and the need for changes in consumption and in energy policy.
Students go through the design process and the scientific process to test the effect of blade design on power output. There is an optional extension to use the data to create an optimal set of wind turbine blades.
In this 'Energy Education for the 21st Century' design challenge, students construct and evaluate a solar-powered model car. Students utilize the design process and undergo review by their peers to select an optimal gear ratio and components for their car. As a culminating activity, students compete in a Solar Sprint race modeled after the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Junior Solar Sprint competition.
Students investigate how much greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) their family releases into the atmosphere each year and relate it to climate change. To address this, students use the Environmental Protection Agency Personal Emissions Calculator to estimate their family's greenhouse gas emissions and to think about how their family could reduce those emissions.
This video addresses two ways in which black carbon contributes to global warming - when in the atmosphere, it absorbs sunlight and generates heat, warming the air; when deposited on snow and ice, it changes the albedo of the surface. The video is effective in communicating about a problem frequently underrepresented in discussions of climate change and also public health.
This interactive visualization created by FRED (Free Energy Data), displays energy supply (by source) and demand (by use) for each state in the US from 1960 to 2010; forecasts through 2035 are available as well.
FRED is an open platform to help state and local governments, energy planners and policy-makers, private industry, and others to effectively visualize, analyze, and compare energy-use data to make better energy decisions and form sustainable strategies.
This detailed chemistry lesson from the U.S. Department of Energy focuses on transforming vegetable oil into biodiesel through a process of transesterification. The process described offers a good model for many chemical reaction processes that are used to produce a viable product.
Student teams design and build solar water heating devices that mimic those used in residences to capture energy in the form of solar radiation and convert it to thermal energy. In this activity, students gain a better understanding of the three different types of heat transfer, each of which plays a role in the solar water heater design. Once the model devices are constructed, students perform efficiency calculations and compare designs.
The Electricity data browser allows individuals and organizations to create, download, or view graphs, reports and tables based on energy data sets for 2001-2013 from the US Energy Information Administration. Data sets include generation and consumption, sales, costs and quality. Can choose various ways to represent these data sets. Note: This site is being updated based on feedback from users.